To deny the presence of pain is to diminish the power of the cross.
Dying, Jesus honored His mother’s courage by acknowledging her pain. She was losing the Son she loved and it hurt in a way that only mothers can comprehend. He didn’t tell her that it would “be alright” or that “the ending is ultimately victorious”.
Instead, He looked upon her trembling figure and saw her broken heart.
He made what practical provision He could by telling John to care for her. He knew it would not undo her sorrow.
Some in the church preach that pain and suffering are anomalies–that they are aberrations in the “victorious Christian life”.
And we place great emphasis on the idea that even though we may have trouble in this life–“We know the REST of the story!” Jesus WINS!
Yes. He. does.
But some of our earthly stories-the ones we are living right now- do not have tidy, happy endings:
Some are burned in the fire.
Some die of cancer.
Some fall headlong into mental illness.
And some bury their children.
What to do when you are confronted by undeniable pain in your own or someone else’s life?
Look with mercy on the broken heart.
Allow suffering to flow from the cracks unchecked and unjudged.
Be still and be love.
Offer practical aid without strings attached. Be mindful of what is actually helpful even if it doesn’t make sense to you. Come alongside for the long haul.
There is no greater gift to the one who is suffering than a faithful friend who refuses to be frightened away.
Loving burden-bearers help those of us living with no-happy-ending earthly stories cling more securely to the hope of ultimate victory in Christ.
And by doing so, declare the power of the cross.
For the message of the cross is foolishness [absurd and illogical] to those who are perishing and spiritually dead [because they reject it], but to us who are being saved [by God’s grace] it is [the manifestation of] the power of God.
I Corinthians 1:18 AMP